When you're looking for a good keyboard for gaming, those old crappy keyboards just won’t do it. Instead, look to invest in a high-grade mechanical keyboard. A more compact tenkeyless (TKL) mechanical keyboard without a number pad, that gives you more gaming desk space may be a good option.
I know when I switched over to a TKL keyboard a couple years ago, it took me a while to figure out which one to get. I read tons of reviews and asked friends, it really took a lot of time. And then I also wasn't sure how I'd adjust to the smaller layout size.
Although it did take a little while to adjust, having a keyboard that's lighter and less restrictive has been the best change ever. And unlike smaller 60% gaming keyboards, I personally really like the fact that TKL keyboards still have dedicated arrow keys. Maybe that's because I also do spreadsheets and stuff too for work and not just gaming. If you want to know more about what a tenkeyless keyboard is and the benefits then read this article of ours>> What is a tenkeyless keyboard?
I've poured through tons of TKL keyboards. In the end, we narrowed to a few different TKL gaming keyboards that we like most across different budgets.
Best TKL Gaming Keyboard Reviews
Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition - [Best high-end TKL gaming keyboard]
The Razer Tournament Edition is a wired tournament level keyboard from one of the biggest names in gaming gear. It is a more compact tenkeyless (TKL) model that comes with a lot of features and is mechanical keyboard with macros.
Razer is known for delivering durable, high-quality products. They do this by focusing on premium materials and designs that add to the performance and comfort.
- Fast linear Razer optical switches
- Syncs with many games, hardware, and OSs
- Individually backlit rainbow colour keys
- Constructed with premium-grade aluminum
- Designed with a detachable USB-C cable
- Keycaps are oil-resistant
- Comes with fully programmable macro keys
Overall, there's a lot to rave about. It's also designed using high-grade materials and components which increases its build quality and durability.
The base of the keyboard is crafted using premium grade aluminum, Razer also then opted to use their patented Linear optical switches on this board, taking away the mechanical aspect and leaving you with digital accuracy. This helps improve actuation and keypress response times.
The Razer tournament is also very comfortable to use from the keycaps to the more compact layout. On top of that, the software is easy to use, and even newer gamers should find their way quite easily.
There are some issues that we need to discuss before you make your final decision, though. The first and perhaps the most impactful is the price. For all the features and extra care, you will have to pay a little more. So if you are dealing with a smaller budget, you may want to look at one of our other options.
Other than that, the keys are very clicky. This means more noise and may not be good for those gamers that live in a house with roommates or family.
If you're looking for a gaming keyboard with equally high performance to the Huntsman Elite, then consider the Steelseries Apex Pro which has similar features and very smooth and custom adjustable switches. Razer have also released a more compact 60% layout version of the Elite called the Huntsman mini which we did a full review on too.
Durgod K320 TKL - [Best overall TKL Keyboard]
As a non-RGB TKL gaming keyboard, the Durgod Taurus K320 is hard to find fault with. I mean it's a really solid piece of tech at a budget friendly price of sub $100 (as of this writing). We've also reviewed the K320 TKL in depth, so be sure to check that out.
You get a choice of various Cherry MX mechanical switches which are super reliable and responsive. And on top of that double-shot PBT keycaps. Yes, that's right, both original Cherry MX switches and double-shot PBT keycaps at a budget friendly price - what's not to like. Being a wired keyboard it comes with a 1 meter cable with a USB-C to USB-type connectors.
There's also an additional USB-C to USB-A cable included giving you plenty option for plugging it into various PC's, Tablets, consoles and phones. You also get a handy keycap puller included too.
- Genuine Cherry MX mechanical switches (choice of red,blue, brown, silver, black)
- Double-shot PBT keycaps
- Keycap puller included
- USB-C and USB-A connector plugs
- Macro support
- n-Key rollover
And there's options to remap keys and macro functions using the Durgod Zeus Engine software.
I'll be honest I'm a long time user and a fan of this keyboard and it's a staple go-to-keyboard in my gaming arsenal. It just gets out your way and lets you focus on the task at hand while being sturdy and delivering on performance. So if you're looking for a compact workhorse that's easier on the wallet and don't need RGB backlighting, then you can't go wrong with the Taurus K320 TKL.
PRO TIP>> If you like the Durgod K320 but want it with backlighting, then get the K320 Nebula version.
Logitec G915 - [Best Wireless TKL keyboard]
The Logitech G915 TKL (Amazon Link) is the smaller version of the fan-favorite wireless G915. It has a slender and firm compact build and fast mechanical switches - it’s the premium wireless tenkeyless keyboard for gamers that are willing to pay more for a super responsive wireless keyboard and great build quality.
If you're after a stunning, comfortable wireless gaming keyboard with a generous set of features, then the G915 TKL is a great option. The standard wireless G915 keyboard from Logitec was already slim with low-profile keycaps, so that added to the smaller profile of this TKL version makes it even more portable.
- High performance Wireless connectivity: 2.4 GHz USB Lightspeed and Bluetooth
- Low-profile mechanical Switches
- Per-key RGB backlighting
- Programmable macros (software support)
- Gaming mode (disable windows key function)
- Tactile, Linear and Clicky options
- Dimensions: 368 x 150 x 22 mm
- Weight: 810g
Obviously, the G915's most prominent feature is its wireless connectivity which is still rare in gaming keyboards, and at response rates that rival wired gaming keyboards.
The Logitech G915 TKL includes vivid RGB backlit keys. The brightness of the RGB can conveniently also be controlled using the dedicated buttons at the top of the keyboard. These can also be further configured using the Logitect G Hub software, along with setting up programmable macros.
Media controls (play, pause, forward, backward, mute) have been retained although just in a slightly different position and made smaller to accommodate the more compact TKL form-factor.
The Logitech G915 TKL is one of the best logitec keyboards and on the more expensive side at plus $200 but there aren't too many high-performance wireless gaming keyboards out there, let alone compact tenkeyless ones at this quality and set of features.
PICTEK TKL Gaming Keyboard - [Cheapest TKL Gaming Keyboard]
Our next entry is a wired keyboard that gives you a lot of customization and a fully responsive, fast key layout.
The team at PICTEK really wanted to manufacture a gamer-friendly keyboard. That means looking at features and materials that lead to better performance and a heightened level of customization. The way this team did that was buy designing a keyboard with these features:
- Crafted with an 87 key compact design
- Multiple lighting modes (27 modes)
- Fully anti-ghosting keys
- Multiple multimedia keys (12)
- Keycaps constructed with double-shot injection
- Built-in foldable stand
- Plug and play model
- Compatible with multiple OSs
The PICTEK TKL keyboard is one of the best available today because it is really good value-for-money and still constructed with high-grade materials and components. The main base of the keyboard uses high-quality materials, as does the keycaps. The keys are not only topped with moulded double-shot ABS, but underneath those caps, there are even more amazing designs in place.
Using nice switches gives the keys a quiet operation as well as a faster attenuation. That, combined with the comfort and ease of use, makes this keyboard able to provide the gamer with a very seamless gaming experience. The keyboard is designed for easy cleaning, and that will help with the unit’s longevity of use.
Now some issues could be a problem for some. There are those that, especially with this unit, in particular, miss the number pad. Tenkeyless naturally doesn’t have one, but if you need one, you can always purchase a keypad separately. This unit also doesn’t come with any accessories like a mouse or extra cords. But being a cheaper TKL gaming keyboard at sub $30 as of this writing, you're still getting a lot for your money.
BLOODY B930 Gaming Keyboard - [Best Budget TKL keyboard]
This entry brings with it some innovative touches that serve to extend the mode's life and performance. These unique inclusions are directly responsible for our selection of the B930 landing on this list.
This mechanical keyboard comes with all the standard and necessary features, as well as some very unique ones as well. The Bloody design team knew that they needed these to set themselves apart from the crowd. These features include the following:
- Built with optical detection keys
- 0.2ms response time
- Ambidextrous key layout
- Crafted with premium grade aluminum
- Coated with a nanocoating for water resistance
- Fitted with optical sensors with precision attenuation
- Programmed with 6 RGB LED backlighting
Keyboards are crucial to your gaming setup, and there are a lot of features that would make this option the perfect choice for a multitude of gamers. The unit starts off this rundown of highlights with its overall design.
The build if this model is simple and beautiful to look at, so not only do you get style but substance too. The best thing with this unit other than its design is the quality and construction of the keys.
The keys are not only fitted with high-quality switches but digital sensors. This gives better attenuation and a feel that is nice and comfortable to use. The key construction also includes anti-ghosting technology for more precision in your movement.
The key layout also offers a setup that is right and left hand friendly. Plus, when you get this keyboard, you will get extra keycaps so that you are ready if one needs replacing.
Now even with all that, there are still some design features that could stand to be improved. The software is chief among them. It is difficult to use and, therefore, not very user-friendly. This may be a problem, especially if you are a new gamer or not very computer savvy.
There are also no dedicated media keys. If you plan to use the keyboard for anything other than gaming, this might cause you some hesitance when making your final decision.
AUKEY TKL - [Best clicky TKL keyboard for typing & gaming]
Our last entry is a wired compact keyboard. This model from AUKEY is a well-designed and straightforward option that is perfect for anyone.
This last of our top picks for TKL mechanical keyboards uses a simple design to deliver efficiency. Though it is not fitted with a ton of fancy features, it is still easily one of the best options out there. The features that this keyboard is designed with include the following:
- Built with Outemu blue switches
- Crafted with 87 rollover keys with anti-ghosting
- Constructed with ABS molded keycaps
- Designed it be water-resistant
- Multiple multimedia buttons
It may not have all the RGB backlighting that our other choices have, but sometimes simplicity is what you need. Being able to take focus away from the frills allowed the team at AUKEY to really focus on what makes a tenkeyless keyboard great.
Starting with the materials, this keyboard screams durability and efficiency. Crafted with high-grade plastic, it is not only sturdy but also very lightweight. The keys are designed using clicky blue switches that are responsive and help improve the attenuation.
This is how the keys are so great when it comes to tactile texture. You also have good N key rollover support with anti-ghosting to ensure rapidly fired keypress signals don't get lost. This, coupled with the inclusion of multiple multimedia keys, enhances the value of this keyboard. All of that is why we feel that this unit is a great investment for gamers.
Now that is not to say that there are no flaws. The lack of RGB backlighting makes this feel less like a gamer keyboard and more like a traditional model. This could be a factor that bothers some people. It is also crafted in plastic.
It is made with durable plastic, but even that durable plastic will wear out faster than aluminum. This decreases the life expectancy of the keyboard, and that means you will have to shell out some extra money. This is a definite problem for those working on a limited budget.
The best TKL mechanical keyboards are compact and easy to use. The lack of a number pad gives the key layout more room, not only on the keyboard itself but also on your desk as well. If you are looking for an easily transportable keyboard, then a tenkeyless is the perfect option. That is why many gamers love this style of keyboard.
By looking at features like ergonomics and switches, we were able to find many options, and we are sure that there is a keyboard for everyone and every gaming need. If budget is a big concern for you then the Pictek is your best choice, it's pretty darn cheap and still offers alright quality and features. If you're looking for a more premium 60% gaming keyboard I'd go with the Razer Huntsman mini. And something in the middle price range would be the B930 TKL. On the other hand, if you like the idea of responsive wireless gaming then the top of the range Logitec G915 TKL is tough to beat.
Having said that there are other compact gaming keyboard layouts that are smaller than a TKL, like those that are 60% and 65% the size of a full keyboard. I personally also like the 65% size which is a bit smaller than a TKL gaming keyboard but still has dedicated arrow keys which I find useful, especially when I'm not using it for gaming.
If you'd be interested in what a good 65 percent gaming keyboard has to offer, you can take a look here at our full review of Ducky One 2 SF - Sixty five percent keyboard. I really love this keyboard as well.